The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has received four recent complaints about racist hiring and promotion practices at Facebook, prompting an investigation that could eventually lead to class-action lawsuits if any wrongdoing is found, Reuters reports.

In July, Facebook operations program manager Oscar Veneszee Jr. and two other applicants who were overlooked for positions brought a charge to the EEOC, with a third rejected applicant joining in December.

Earlier this month, the EEOC began investigating Facebook’s policies and hiring practices, labelling the probe as “systemic”. This designation is important, as it allows investigators to bring in specialists to go over company data, potentially leading to a class-action lawsuit.

The investigation is expected to last several months and may not result in any findings of wrongdoing, Reuters says.

“We believe it is essential to provide all employees with a respectful and safe working environment,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told The Intercept

“We take any allegations of discrimination seriously and investigate every case.”

One of the complainants, who spoke with The Intercept, says she was overlooked for a position at Facebook despite qualifications that matched the role. She says she was rushed through interviews that were conducted by all-white employees and told during an in-person meeting that “there’s no doubt you can do the job, but we’re really looking for a culture fit.” 


The term ‘culture fit’ has come under scrutiny in recent years, despite widespread use in tech spheres.

In short, it’s used to define a candidate one would like to grab a drink with after work. But it can also contribute to a lack of diversity, both in people and in thought.

“You end up with this big, homogenous culture where everybody looks alike, everybody thinks alike, and everybody likes drinking beer at 3 o’clock in the afternoon with the bros,” Patty McCord, a human-resources consultant and former chief talent officer at Netflix told the Wall Street Journal in 2019.


In 2019, Facebook announced its plans to have 50 per cent of its STEM workforce consist of under-represented groups by 2024, with an emphasis on hiring talent from Black, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islanders, mixed ethnicity, disabled, and/or veteran backgrounds.

But a lot more work needs to be done to reach the 2024 goal, Business Insider reports. In 2018, about 3.8 per cent of Facebook’s overall workforce consisted of Black employees, a number held near-steady in 2020, at 3.9 per cent.

That’s despite Black Americans accounting for 13.4 per cent of the U.S. population, according to Census data.

Asian employees rose 1.4 per cent year-over-year, now making up 44.4 per cent of Facebook’s workforce.

Hispanic employee representation now sits at around 6.3 per cent, up from 5.2 per cent in 2019.